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Tropical Storm Isaias tore through New Jersey this week, packing a punch that left thousands of families without power.  Humans weren’t the only ones affected by this storm; wildlife rehabilitators were kept busy with an abundance of calls about birds and animals, especially babies, that were in danger after the storm damaged their habitats.

At the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, we work closely with local wildlife rehabilitators when wild animals wind up at the shelter. Wild animals require special care; not only do they need care to survive but that care must be provided in a way that will allow them to be released back to the wild. Our friends at Wildlife Aid, a group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators and volunteers in Egg Harbor Township, who help injured and orphaned wildlife told us that severe storms, like Isaias, cause additional trouble for local wildlife.

High winds and excessive rain can damage bird and squirrel nests; in addition, Wildlife Aid responded to calls for 23 birds, some endangered, from the shore areas. Wildlife Aid is a “first responder” for wildlife; the birds were assessed and then placed in the care of Tri State Bird Rescue and Research who in turn continued their rehabilitation; several of the birds have already been released back into the wild.

With more storms hovering on the horizon, more wild animals are likely to need help. Wildlife Aid urges citizens to act by using gloves and removing injured or orphaned animals from dangerous areas. Babies that are wet should be gently dried off. Do not feed wild animals! Their dietary needs are very specific and you can easily do more harm than good. Once the animal has been removed from danger, immediately contact a local wildlife rehabilitator, a list of which can be found on the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website: They will direct you in your further actions to help the wildlife.

It is important to remember, that per the Division of Fish and Wildlife, it is illegal to possess wildlife in New Jersey without a permit. Injured, orphaned, or ill wildlife must be taken directly to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator and cannot be kept or cared for by any individual who does not possess a valid New Jersey wildlife rehabilitation permit.

At times, you may be directed to make arrangements to have the animal received by a wildlife rescue. Other times, it may be in the animals best interest to attempt to reunite babies with their mother. The best chance for survival for a wild animal is always when they can remain with their mother and continue to be raised in the wild; a rehabilitator will be able to provide guidance in the best way to do this, when appropriate.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with injured or ill wildlife is to always call the experts for guidance. There are too many things that can go wrong, even when you are trying to do the right thing, and it will always be the animal that pays the price. The experts rely on us to be their eyes, so continue to keep a lookout in your backyard, the park, and even the beaches- especially during adverse weather- to report animals in need.

Source: Tropical Storm Isaias impacted humans & wildlife; learn how to help injured wild animals

Posted in 2020, SJRAS Articles